American Pulls Trigger on Massive Narrowbody Order

 - July 20, 2011, 5:39 AM

American Airlines signed a pair of “landmark agreements” to place orders for 460 narrowbody jets from Boeing and Airbus, the airline announced today. Plans call for American to order 260 A320-family aircraft and 200 Boeing 737s, scheduled for delivery starting in 2013 and continuing through 2022. The orders signal the imminent launch of a Boeing re-engining project for the 737 using CFM Leap-X turbofans and the first application of the A320neo with a U.S. network carrier.

Delivery schedules call for Airbus to gain its long-sought-after toehold with the Dallas-based airline starting in 2013, when American takes the first of 130 current-generation A320-family airplanes. The airline plans to start taking delivery of another 130 A320neo-family jets in 2017. The deal includes options and so-called purchase rights for another 365 airplanes, and gives American the ability to covert its delivery positions into A319s, A320s or A321s.

Under the agreement with Boeing, American will take delivery of 100 airplanes from the current 737NG family starting in 2013, including three 737-800s, on which it exercised options as of July 1. The order for the remaining 100 Boeing jets would call for first delivery of the new CFM Leap-X-powered 737NG in 2017. The deal grants American options on 40 current-generation, CFM56-7B-powered 737s and 60 of the Leap-X-powered variants. Boeing expects to launch the re-engining project sometime this fall.